Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 8:30am to 4:00pm
Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, 927 W Trinity Ave, Durham, NC 27701 (Map)
Duke Divinity School
(919) 613-5323

Duke Divinity School is hosting a day-long seminar to promote awareness, interest, and engagement in forms of social, political, and economic witness that constructively address issues of injustice as part of a commitment to discipleship in Christ and His ministry of reconciliation. All are welcome to attend.

This event is being led by this year’s World Vision Justice Fellows Elizabeth Styron and Crystal DesVignes and is sponsored by World Vision and the Duke Center for Reconciliation.


LaneyThe Bishop Clarence Laney, Jr. is a native of Selma, N.C., and holds a Master of Divinity from Duke University School of Divinity, Durham, N.C., and a B.A. in boadcast journalism from St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C. He is a 2007 graduate of the Harvard Divinity School Leadership Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Currently he is pursuing a D.Min. from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, K. In 1996, he was appointed pastor of the Monument of Faith Church of God of Prophecy in Durham, a progressive liturgical Pentecostal church with a strong commitment to social justice and community outreach. Since his appointment, significant growth in membership and finances has occurred, existing ministries have been strengthened, and more than 20 new ministries have been created. Bishop Laney has preached and taught throughout the United States, Canada, and Sierra Leone. He also serves as bishop of NC COGOP Region #3, providing oversight for nine districts and 40 denominational churches. Bishop Laney is also a member of the North Carolina COGOP State Ministerial Review Board and State Convention Committee. He is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods Clergy Caucus, and serves on the Duke University Medical Center Ethics Committee and the Durham Public Schools Code of Student Task Force. 

BradyChris L. Brady is the pastor of the historic Wilson Temple UMC in Raleigh, N.C. He has a B.A. in philosophy and political science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, a M.Div. from Duke Divinity School, a Th.M. from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy/counseling from Eastern University. He enjoys serving the community, higher education institutions, and faith-based public and private human resource centers by building capacity and fostering new imaginations in the areas of institutional redevelopment and vitality, sacred and secular leadership coaching, race/racial awareness & transformation program training and workshop development, conflict transformation, practical theology, counseling therapy, and restorative justice process program development. He currently serves as a board member of the Methodist Home for Children; The Raleigh Wesley Foundation; and The City of Raleigh Cameron Village Community Advisory Committee.

Florer-BixlerMelissa Florer-Bixler is pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church. Prior to that, she served as minister of nurture at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church in Durham, N.C. She has an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and an M.A. in religion from Duke University. Florer-Bixler is licensed for ministry in the Virginia Mennonite Conference and is active in a group working to found a L’Arche community in Durham.

JuskusRyan Juskus is a doctoral student in Christian theology and ethics at Duke University whose work addresses the intersections of land and people, particularly environmental justice, property, and democracy. These academic interests derive from previous work experience with post-conflict reconciliation in Peru, affordable housing development in Washington, DC, and administering a community and international development program at Wheaton College. 

VergaraEdgar Vergara is the pastor of City Road United Methodist Church in Henderson, N.C. He has an M.Div. from Duke University, a B.A. in psychology from Northern Arizona University, and an A.A. in sociology from Arizona Western College. His time is currently occupied by seeking for opportunities to build bridges between peoples who come from different cultures and speak different languages, but who are also called to draw near to God the Father and to one another through the mediation of Jesus Christ and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He currently serves as the chairman of Hispanic Latino Ministries for the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Additionally, he is currently working towards the integration of City Road United Methodist Church and the Hispanic/Latino New Faith Community.


Saturday, April 22
8:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks and Prayer by Dr. Elaine Heath, Dean of Duke Divinity School
9:15 a.m. Worship
9:30 a.m. Keynote: The Bishop Clarence Laney, Jr.
10:15 a.m. Break
Light snack provided
10:30 a.m. Workshops
Choose one
11:15 a.m. Workshops
Choose one
12:00 p.m. Catered Lunch
Pre-registration required
12:45 p.m. Panel: “Let’s Talk Vision”
1:45 p.m. Q&A
2:30 p.m. Final Reflections
4 p.m. End of program



The panel discussion will create space for workshop leaders and community leaders to further discuss God’s call for Justice and the ways in which they have embodied this call within the social contexts in which they participate.


  • Chris Brady, Pastor (Wilson Temple UMC)
  • Melissa Florer-Bixler, Pastor (Raleigh Mennonite Church)
  • Ryan Juskus, doctoral student in Christian theology and ethics at Duke University
  • Edgar Vergara, Pastor (City Road United Methodist)
  • Tammy Rodman, Community Leader (Sanctuary Ministries)
  • Portia Rochelle, Community leader (President of NAACP Raleigh/Apex Branch) 


Four workshops will be offered. All four will be offered at 10:30 a.m. and then again at 11:15 a.m. Participants will choose one to attend at 10:30 and a second one to attend at 11:15. Participants will select workshops during registration

  • Chris Brady: Racial Justice
  • Melissa Florer-Bixler: Activism and Protest
  • Edgar Vergara: Immigration Justice
  • Ryan Juskus: Environmental Justice

Catered Lunch

One complimentary lunch is available for registered participants.

Location and Parking

The Vision for Justice event will take place at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, 927 W Trinity Ave, Durham, NC, 27701. Free parking is available in lots accessible from both Gregson Street and Trinity Avenue (including the large gated lot just beyond the church property). Visit the church website for more information.


Advance registration is required for this event. YRegistration includes access to all sessions and workshops, lunch, and parking at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church. We will send confirmation upon receipt of your registration information. Event fees are non-refundable.

Online registration closes April 22, 2017.


  Standard Rate
Current Seminarian and Duke Divinity student $5
Regular registration $15
Scholarship recipients $0

Limited scholarships are available. To request one, please contact Crystal Desvignes or Liz Styron prior to registering. If you are awarded a scholarship, you will be provided with a code to enter when you register for the conference. The code cannot be applied retroactively, so please be sure to complete the scholarship process before registering to attend.


Contact Duke Divinity School at or (919) 613-5323.